The Maddox Creek restoration project is focused on the removal of the perched and failing Maddox Creek culvert, restore the stream channel, and plant native vegetation to further stabilize the area. The preexisting culvert was 210 foot long, perched three feet, and covered by approximately 15,000 cubic yards of fill. The site is located on Skagit County unopened right-of-way known as Tiffany Way (County Road #74510) with the northern part annexed into the City under Auditor’s File Number: AF199911080014.
There was a large plunge pool at the inlet and notable erosion on the upstream, signifying that the culvert is undersized, a fish passage barrier for Steelhead, a federally threatened species, Coho, a candidate species on the federal level, Chum, and Pink Salmon, and resident and Searun Cutthroat Trout, and increasing erosion at the site. The culvert was installed in the 1960s when it was believed that S 19th Street would be extended and has split ownership between the City of Mount Vernon and Skagit County. Due to the perched nature of the culvert, the rate of erosion at the outlet of the pipe has greatly increased overtime.
Design and Construction
The Maddox Creek Restoration Project is designed by Tom Slocum through Skagit Conservation District, contracted by Williamson Construction, and inspected by Pacific Survey and Engineering. The archeologist for this project was ERCI Inc. and they were on site for the majority of project construction. Their report, and others, can be found in the More Information section below.
Construction took 34 days, not including riparian restoration and cost a total of $494,633.69. Williamson Construction worked with the City of Mount Vernon to construct a trail for an additional cost of $11,500 not included in the total project cost of the project.
Riparian replanting will be completed by EarthCorp in March 2021. All plants will be provided with funding provided by the Department of Ecology, City of Mount Vernon, and Skagit County. Labor for the planting is being provided via a grant award from EarthCorp.
According to community members, Coho Salmon were seen using the newly opened channel in November 2020.
The Maddox Creek Restoration Project is supported by funding from the Department of Ecology, City of Mount Vernon, Skagit County, the Trout and Salmon Foundation, and EarthCorp. This included design, construction, and replanting. Through February 2021 the project has cost a total of $590,291.32 and we had project funding totaling $646,152.33. The County contribution was shared between Skagit County Roads and Skagit Drainage Utility.
In February 2021, the City of Mount Vernon used their Washington Conservation Corp (WCC) Crew to prep the site for planting and install a small portion of the plants. This work is also not included in the total project funding or expenses.
Kurt Buchanan, a retired habitat biologist with the Department of Fish and Wildlife, and Hal Lee, a neighboring community member, have assisted the project through years of advocacy for improving the habitat of Maddox Creek. Without their gentle prodding and enthusiastic encouragement over all these years the unused culvert on Maddox Creek would likely be blocking passage to fish today.